Realscreen January/February 2019

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034 JANUARY / FEBRUARY '19 on-fi ction storytelling is nothing new at Ron Howard and Brian Grazer's Imagine Entertainment. In 2005, Grazer produced Inside Deep Throat, and in 2013, Howard directed Jay-Z: Made in America. The New York-based prodco has worked on various other documentaries and non-fi ction series through the years, with subject matter ranging from The Beatles (Eight Days a Week) to science and exploration (Nat Geo's Breakthrough). But in 2018, the company committed to a designated documentary division with outgoing RadicalMedia executive and frequent collaborator Justin Wilkes at the helm. Soon after, HBO executive and Emmy- and Peabody-winning producer Sara Bernstein signed on as executive vice president of documentaries. Imagine Documentaries is currently in production on its fi rst feature-length documentary fi lm and docuseries, with more announcements to come in 2019. Concurrently, Imagine launched Imagine Impact, a trailblazing content accelerator and talent incubator that uses strategies from Silicon Valley and the world of tech start-ups to foster new talent on the scripted side, offering an eight-week creative boot camp and mentorship for new creative voices. "The goal for us is to fi nd original, talented, diverse voices from all over the world, who want to tell universal stories," says Tyler Mitchell, who heads up Imagine Impact. "We want to democratize access to Hollywood, which is traditionally a closed system. We basically came up with ways that we could leverage technology in the talent discovery process, and then partner with world- class mentors." In short, Imagine Impact seeks to inject new life into the industry and increase the talent pool to create better content from more diverse voices. "If they succeed, then everybody does, because better material means better shows for the audience, and better projects for networks," says Mitchell. "We're really just trying to create a win-win for everybody." While Imagine Impact doesn't yet include documentaries, Wilkes and Mitchell maintain that non-fi ction will be part of the next phase of expanding Impact to cover more genres and formats. That might mean creating a separate accelerator for doc projects specifi cally in the near future. Realscreen spoke with Wilkes about Imagine's focus on the documentary space and what the company has in store going forward. N

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